Rockefeller University received a $25 million gift from the Robertson Foundation that will be used to create the Robertson Therapeutic Development Fund. This fund will be used to help turn basic research discoveries into new medical therapies by providing support for dozens of Rockefeller projects over the next five years. Research grants ranging from $10,000 to $1 million will be awarded from the fund in order to provide Rockefeller scientists with the resources they need to take exceptionally promising research initiatives through the steps that lead to breakthrough medications, new diagnostic tests or other clinical innovations.
The Robertson Foundation was established by investment manager, Julian H. Robertson and his family. This Foundation utilizes a pro-active, disciplined grant-making approach to effect significant social change in the principal areas of education, the environment, and medical research. Robertson, chairman and chief executive officer of Tiger Management, has been a member of the university’s Board of Trustees since 2001.
In an article for The Rockefeller University Newswire, the university’s president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D. states, “The Robertson Therapeutic Development Fund will provide critical support for medically significant research that has evolved beyond the basic research stage, but has not yet amassed sufficient data to attract industrial or venture capital.” He goes on to say that, “Julian Robertson’s extraordinary gift will enable these projects to move forward, and the fund’s flexible, multi-tiered structure will ensure that the resources are used efficiently to support projects that have the greatest potential to benefit patients.”
This isn’t the only financial assistance Rockefeller has received from the foundation. Dr. Winrich Freiwald and three Rockefeller assistant professors have received support from the Robertson Foundation through the New York Stem Cell Foundation. Currently, Freiwald’s lab is examining the inner workings of the face recognition system in the brain, from the level of specific cells to the interactions of brain areas, and how they respond to faces and then relay and integrate their messages to produce social recognition. His research addresses questions that are relevant to disorders that interfere with basic neural processing skills, such as autism.
Grant proposals for this new fund will be reviewed by an independent committee of experts drawn from the pharmaceutical, biotech and life sciences investment industries. Projects will be selected for three different types of funding:
- proof-of-concept funding, to jump-start initiatives aimed at identifying and validating potential therapeutic targets
- grants for larger early clinical development, which will pay for drug design, and toxicology testing
- in some cases, the monies will help pay for phase I clinical trials.
University Rockefeller Program Director, Bruce Conway, who holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology, will administer the grants and guide faculty on the design and execution of their projects. Conway has twenty years of experience in drug discovery and early development project management. He has worked in both the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. He will report to Rockefeller’s vice president for university strategy and research operations and will work closely with its Technology Transfer Office.
Upcoming Event at Rockefeller University:
On Thursday April 13, 2017, Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will host the 22nd Semiannual BioResearch Product Faire™ event at Rockefeller University. This biotech trade show helps researchers gain access to supplies and equipment they need to continue their cutting edge research. This vendor fair is a great opportunity for lab suppliers to meet face to face with members of the life science research community who are interested in learning about the latest in biotech, lab supplies and lab equipment. Those interested in displaying and demonstrating their products should call (530) 272-6675 or click on the link below.
Science professionals attend for free. Click the link below to for more information and to preregister.